Nadal denies Shapovalov's upset bid in Rome by saving two match pointsMay 13, 2021
Debating best-of-three sets vs. best-of-fiveBy May 21, 2021
The Tennis Conversation: Tim HenmanBy May 21, 2021
The Pick: Lorenzo Musetti vs. Sebastian Korda, ATP Lyon second roundBy May 18, 2021
In Geneva, Roger Federer loses clay-court comeback to Pablo AndujarBy May 18, 2021
The Pick: Jannik Sinner vs. Aslan Karatsev, ATP Lyon first roundBy May 17, 2021
Officials deny that 2022 Australian Open could moveBy May 17, 2021
Week in Preview: Serena, Federer lead stars tuning up for French OpenBy May 17, 2021
Nadal finds the final answer for Djokovic in roller coaster Rome finalBy May 16, 2021
Rafael Nadal battles past Novak Djokovic to win Rome for 10th timeBy May 16, 2021
Nadal denies Shapovalov's upset bid in Rome by saving two match points
The nine-time Internazionali BNL d'Italia champion survived, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals.
Published May 13, 2021
The last time Denis Shapovalov defeated a Top 5 player, the year was 2017. On home soil, in Montreal, he made his first big splash with a stunning victory over Rafael Nadal.
On Thursday in Rome, Shapovalov looked in prime position to end a 14-match losing streak against Top 5 opponents dating back to that memorable upset—and pull off even more surprising victory over the Spaniard.
Yet, as we’ve seen so often, if an opportunity to extend a lead against Nadal, especially on clay, isn’t taken, it foreshadows an unfavorable outcome to come. And that’s exactly what happened, as the No. 3 seed prevailed, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), saving two match points in the process to stymie his fellow left-hander.
Down a set and 3-0, 30-40, and later 3-1, 40-0, Nadal dug out of both situations to level the contest. To his credit, Shapovalov didn't fold. He reset mentally to grab the first break of the deciding set, though failed to consolidate at 3-1. From there, a stretch of holds saw the contest escalate in tension.
Serving at 5-5, 30-0 lead, Shapovalov was in position to go up 40-0, but missed a short-court forehand well wide. Three points later, he stared down his first of three break points in the game, saving each to stay in front.
Nadal then fell behind 15-30. He won a lengthy rally to fend off Shapovalov's first match point, then saved the second when the 22-year-old framed a forehand.
Seeking his 10th title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Nadal will get his shot at revenge against Alexander Zverev, who beat him in last week's Madrid quarterfinals. The German rallied to defeat Kei Nishikori, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Stay tuned for a full report from Steve Tignor on this third-round clash.